Top 6 1960s Ad Campaigns and What You Can Learn From Them
The 1960s was a decade that grew around the concept of revolution. Civil rights movements were beginning, anti-war protests were taking place, and technological advancements made the world rife with possibility.
With growing technological capabilities came 1960s ad campaigns that drove businesses toward profit. Here, we're going to talk about some of the best ad campaigns of the decade.
Read on to learn about marketing in the 60s and how you can implement the most successful strategies into modern marketing efforts.
1. Madge the Manicurist
Palmolive, a dish soap company, created a character called Madge. In advertisements featuring her, she would give manicures to women who had 'dishpan hands'- hands used to perform traditional tasks around the home.
After giving a spiel about Palmolive soap, she would tell the woman, "you know, you're soaking in it now." Surprised, her client would remove her hand from the soap and the skin would be clear, showcasing that dish soap was not as harsh on the skin as other soap brands were.
Madge the manicurist became a widely known character during the 60s. She became a household name and people began to care for her. While this connection made sales during the 60s, we have a better understanding of the importance of characters in marketing today.
Psychologists have looked into the phenomenon of empathy and concluded that people feel for characters that they connect to as much as they may real people.
For marketers, this provides a golden opportunity to inspire brand connection. If consumers relate to a character that you use to promote your brand, they're more likely to feel loyal to the character (and, by proxy, to your brand).
2. Ronald McDonald: A Legend Beyond 1960s Ad Campaigns
Madge was far from the only character that the 1960s brought to consumers. One of today's most recognizable characters internationally, Ronald McDonald, first came into the world in 1963.
Played by Willard Scott, the man who brought the world Bozo, Ronald was originally not just a clown- he was a dancing clown.
The first McDonald's commercial to feature him had Ronald watching himself on a TV McDonald's commercial.
He discussed the ways that he liked to do other things that kids enjoyed beyond watching TV, including delicious hamburgers and fries.
The end of the commercial showed him skipping into a McDonald's restaurant with a small jingle about the hamburger-eating clown.
To a modern advertiser, this TV ad is a case study in choosing and marketing to target audiences. This commercial may have seemed unappealing or even downright strange to an adult. Kids, on the other hand, ate it up and begged their parents to take them to McDonald's.
One of the best ways that the ad appealed to children was by making them feel that McDonald's was meant for them. The proclamation of McDonald's being something that kids in the general sense enjoyed made children want to hop on the bandwagon.
The idea of making people feel that they must indulge in a product or feel left out is a great way to make sales even today.
3. It's Slinky, It's Slinky: A Jingle for the Ages
Because of repetition, rhyme, and patterns, it is generally easy for people to remember song lyrics. Advertisers in the 60s used this to reel in their audience. You can, too.
One of the Ronald McDonald ad's greatest features was a jingle. This persistent marketing method still appears on TV sets, streaming platforms, and company websites today. But what makes a successful jingle?
To answer this question, let's take a look at the 1962 Slinky jingle. Slinky toys are simple coils that a child can treat as a yo-yo. The spring bounces up and down and can crawl down stairs, which is obviously entertaining for kids and made for a great, albeit simple, toy.
The tune for this toy is easily the longest-running jingle in history. Its tune is simple and catchy, mirroring the appeal of the product. It also describes all of the things that a slinky can do, showcasing its versatility and the ways that it can be 'fun for a girl and a boy.'
The ad is therefore a study in how you can quickly show that a product can perform many functions. It also widens the target audience to both genders at a time when all items, including toys, were heavily gendered.
You can use the slinky jingle to create your own simple tune that exhibits everything that a product can do.
4. KFC and Seasonal Marketing
The 1968 KFC Finger Lickin' Christmas ad was a huge success. It showcased a Santa-hat-boasting Colonel Sanders with a bucket of chicken. The headline 'He'll Give You a Rest During the Rush' coexisted with two pictures of happy, relaxed housewives who were glad to be relieved of the pressure of cooking.
This KFC ad shows us the importance of combining both brand imagery and holiday imagery. Already-recognizable Colonel Sanders wearing a Santa hat is both funny and memorable to those who have seen him before.
They are likely to remember this, subconsciously associate Sanders with someone who likes Christmastime, and buy their holiday meal from him.
Assuming that you have a memorable brand with an appealing logo, you can do this as well. Changing your logo to holiday colors, adding a Santa hat to your mascot, or adding moving snowflake effects to your website are all great ways to associate your brand with the holidays.
You'll be viewed as fun and festive this way. More importantly, you'll be viewed as relevant during the winter months and up-to-date with current events.
This shows target audiences that you care about your brand image enough to update it seasonally.
5. Burger King, Your Way
McDonald's was known for its unique ways of doing business in the 60s. One of its quirks was that many restaurants did not allow substitutions on burger ingredients.
They believed that their recipe was perfect and did not want people altering it.
As you might imagine, this made a lot of people unhappy with the franchise.
Burger King came up with the "Have It Your Way" slogan to show that they were a more flexible alternative to McDonald's rigidity.
This told a brand story in only four words- a very memorable way to showcase the franchise's values!
There are two key things that we can learn from this.
The first is that brevity is a great way to keep slogans memorable and evergreen.
Longer headlines would have been difficult to remember and unlikely to persist through the years. As it stands, everyone still knows the "Have It Your Way" burger king slogan over 60 years later.
Second, modern advertisers should use their ads not only to get the word of their product out but also to undercut competitors.
You aren't just selling a good or service. You're selling a better good or service than your competitors, which differentiates your brand and encourages people to choose you over similar companies.
6. The LBJ Daisy Advertisement
Regardless of your political stances, it's undeniable that Lyndon B. Johnson's "Daisy" attack ad is one of the most impactful in history. It's also undeniable that modern advertisers can use it as an example of how to play to the emotions of an audience.
This advertisement only aired once in 1964 and is still viewed as a huge reason that LBJ had such a landslide victory during the election. The ad features a young girl counting as she pulls the petals innocently off a Daisy.
When she finishes, the counting begins again in a deep man's voice.
At the end of the man's counting, an atomic bomb explodes. The end of the trailer states that we either defend or condemn all of the world's children.
The message of this ad was essentially that if you voted for Goldwater (LBJ's opponent), little girls would get nuked. While this is definitely a slippery slope, it was an effective one. It perfectly played to the emotions of the audience.
As a modern advertiser, you may not want to go so far as to say that children die without your services.
However, you can take a lesson from this ad in how to best appeal to an audience by making them feel strong emotions.
Consider the things that your target market values and make them feel as though your services are essential to maintaining those values.
Take Your Ad Campaign to the Next Level
1960s ad campaigns were both unique and products of their time.
However, learning from history is one of the best things that we can do in any market.
Make sure that you apply principles from 60s marketing to your modern-day advertisements.
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